2003 News Story

Prince Nayef at Arab ministers meeting in Tunis

President Zine El Abidine ben Ali of Tunisia yesterday received Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who is heading the Kingdom's delegation to the 20th conference of interior ministers of the League of Arab States.

Prince Nayef, as Honorary President of the Arab Interior Ministers Council, addressed the conference's final session in Tunis yesterday. He spoke of the role of information in ensuring security in the Arab world, through support of security organs by defending the interests of Arab and Muslim countries, confronting propaganda, and refuting fabrications that target Arab and Muslim people. The Arab interior ministers, he said, are determined to fight terrorism not by repression but through awareness and guidance. He pointed out that Arab journalists and intellectuals must correct wrong concepts and explain that the Arab world advocates peace and desires stability and security.

The final communiqué of the Arab Interior Ministers conference noted the existence of the technical committee of Arab ministers of justice that deals with the war on terrorism; approved a report presented by Prince Nayef as Chairman of the Board of the Nayef Arab Academy for Security Sciences; and endorsed plans for Arab security, prevention of crime, traffic regulations, and measures against illegal drugs, as well as the fight against terrorism.

At a press conference afterwards, Prince Nayef affirmed that the Arab interior ministers had reached consensus on confronting the issue of terrorism. Commenting on the joint meeting of Arab interior and information ministers in Tunis later today, and stating that its objective is not to impact negatively on freedom of information, writing or thinking, he declared that a common stance is needed when confronting the public and explaining the reality of Islam and the Arab world.

In reply to a question on whether current events in the region might affect the Hajj season this year, Prince Nayef expressed the hope that everyone is aware of the sanctity of Makkah and the holy sites and that this sanctity will be respected, but gave assurances that all necessary measures have been taken in anticipation of any problem.